José Milla y Vidaurre

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José Milla y Vidaurre
José Milla y Vidaurre.jpg
Born (1822-08-04)August 4, 1822
Guatemala City, First Mexican Empire
Died September 30, 1882(1882-09-30) -61
Pen name Salomé Jil
Nickname Pepe Milla
Nationality Guatemalan

José Milla y Vidaurre (August 4, 1822 in Guatemala City — September 30, 1882) was a notable Mexican/Guatemalan writer of the 19th century. He was also known by the name Pepe Milla and the pseudonym Salomé Jil. Son of a governor of the state of Honduras in the Federal Republic of Central America, José Justo de la Milla y Pineda and Mrs. Mercedes Vidaurre Molina, the daughter of a wealthy Guatemalan family. He was married to a cousin, Mercedes Vidaurre and had 7 daughters and sons.

Milla grew up in a time of great instability, where the struggles between liberals and conservatives were bringing chaos to Guatemala. He came from a well-to-do family and was not a politically relevant figure. However, it is known that he had conservative tendencies and came to public office under conservative governments.

His works can be qualified under various literary genres, although they were mainly dedicated to story-telling, novels and more specifically historical novels. His main theme was life in the colonial Guatemala. His "novelas costumbristas" are about the customs of Guatemalan people during colonial times and during the first years after Guatemalan independence.

In his works, he shows an ability for story-telling and imagination. For him, one of the main functions of literature was to entertain and his books are examples of such function. Jose Milla was well-educated, an expert of Guatemalan idiosyncrasies, its history and its customs.

Diplomatic career[edit]

Wyke-Aycinena treaty: Limits convention about Belize[edit]

Wyke-Aycinena treaty
Created April 30, 1859 (1859-04-30)
Ratified September 26, 1859 (1859-09-26)
Location  United Kingdom United Kingdom and  Guatemala, Guatemala City.
Author(s) Pedro de Aycinena y Piñol and Charles Lennox Wyke
Purpose Define the borders between the British settlement of Belize and Guatemala.[1]
Map of Yucatán, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador region in 1839. Notice that the borders among México, Guatemala and Belize were not defined at all.

The Belize region in the Yucatan peninsula was never occupied by either Spain or Guatemala, even though Spain made some exploratory expeditions in the 16th century that serve as her basis to claim the area as hers; [2] Guatemala simply inherited that argument to claim the territory, even they it never sent any expedition to the area after the Independence from Spain in 1821, due to the Central American civil war that ensued and lasted until 1860.[2] On the other hand, the British had set a small settlement there since middle of the 17th century, mainly as buccaneers quarters y then for fine wood production; the settlements were never recognized as British colonies even though they were somewhat under the jurisdiction of the Jamaican British government.[2] In the 18th century, Belize became the main smuggling center for Central America, even though the British accepter Spain sovereignty over the region by means of the 1783 and 1786 treaties, in exchange for a cease fire and the authorization for the Englishmen to work with the precious woods from Belize.[2]

After the Central America independence from Spain in 1821, Belize became the leading edge of the commercial entrance of Britain in the isthmus; British commercial brokers established themselves there and began prosper commercial routes with the Caribbean harbors of Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.[2]

The liberals came to power in Guatemala in 1829 after defeating and expelling the Aycinena family and the regular clergy from the Catholic church, and began a formal complain before the English crown about the Belize area;[3] at the same time, the liberal caudillo Francisco Morazán -then president of the Central American Federation- had personal dealings with British interests, especially on the fine wood market. In Guatemala, liberal governor Mariano Gálvez made several land concessions to British citizens, among them the best farmland in the country, Hacienda de San Jerónimo in Verapaz; these dealings with Englishmen were used by the secular clergy in Guatemala -who had not been expelled as the monasteries, but had lost the mandatory tithing which had left it weakened- to accuse the liberal of heresy and to start a peasant revolt against the heretic liberals and in favor of the "true religion".[4] When Rafael Carrera -peasant revolt leader and commander- came to power in 1840, stopped the complaints over Belize, and established a Guatemalan consulate in the region to oversee the Guatemalan interests in that important commercial location.[2] Belize commerce was booming in the region until 1855, when the Colombians built a transoceanic railway, which allowed commerce to flow more efficiently to the port at the Pacific; from then on, Belize commercial importance began a steep decline.[2]

When the Caste War of Yucatán began in the Yucatan peninsula-native people raising that results in thousands of murdered European settlers- the Belize and Guatemala representatives were in high alert; Yucatan refugees fled into both Guatemala and Belize and even Belize superintendent came to fear that Carrera -given his strong alliance with Guatemalan natives- could be support the native risings in Central America.[2] In the 1850s, the British showed their good will to settle the territorial differences with the Central American countries: they withdraw from the Mosquito Coast in Nicaragua and began talks that would end up in the restoration of the territory to Nicaragua in 1894: returned the Bay Islands to Honduras and even negotiated with the American filibuster William Walker in an effort to avoid the invasion of Honduras.[5] They also signed a treaty about with Guatemala about Belize borders, which has been called by Guatemalans as the worst mistake made by the conservative regime of Rafael Carrera-.[5]

Pedro de Aycinena y Piñol, as Foreign Secretary, had made an extra effort to keep good relations with the British crown. In 1859, William Walker's threat loomed again over Central America; in order to get the weapons needed to face the filibuster, Carrera's regime had to come to terms about Belize with the British Empire. On 30 April 1859, the Wyke-Aycinena treaty was signed, between the English and Guatemalan representatives.[6] The controversial Wyke-Aycinena from 1859 had two parts:

  • The first six articles clearly defined the Guatemala-Belize border: Guatemala acknowledged England sovereignty over the Belize territory.[5]
  • The seventh article was about the construction of a road between Belize City and Guatemala City, which would be of mutual benefit, as Belize needed a way to communicate with the Pacific coast of Guatemala, having lost its commercial relevance after the construction of the transoceanic railroad in Panama in 1855; on the other hand, Guatemala needed a road to improve communication with its Atlantic coast. However, the road was never built; first because Guatemalan and Belizeans could not reach an agreement of the exact location for the road, and later because the conservatives lost power in Guatemala in 1871, and the liberal government declared the treaty void.[1]

Among those who signed the treaty was Milla y Vidaurre, who worked with Aycinena in the Foreign Ministry at the time.[7] Rafael Carrera ratified the treaty on 1 May 1859, while Charles Lennox Wyke, British consul in Guatemala, travelled to Great Britain and got the royal approval on 26 September 1859.[1] there were some protests coming from the American consul, Beverly Clarke, and some liberal representatives, but the issue was settled.[1]


  • Don Bonifacio (narrative poem)
  • La Hija del Adelantado (novel), 1866
  • Los Nazarenos (novel)
  • El Visitador (novel)
  • Un viaje al otro mundo pasando por otras partes (Volumes 1 & 2)
  • Memorias de un abogado (novel)
  • El esclavo de don dinero (novel)
  • Historia de un Pepe (novel)
  • El canasto del sastre (cuadros de costumbres)
  • Libro sin nombre
  • Historia de la America Central (Volumes 1 & 2)



  • Albizúrez Palma, Francisco; Barrios y Barrios, Catalina (1987). Historia de la literatura guatemalteca (3 volúmenes) (in Spanish). Guatemala: Editorial Universitaria. 
  • Diario de Centro América (2012). "Historia del Diario de Centro América" (PDF). Foro red boa (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  • González Davison, Fernando (2008). La montaña infinita; Carrera, caudillo de Guatemala (in Spanish). Guatemala: Artemis y Edinter. ISBN 84-89452-81-4. 
  • Gullón (ed.), Ricardo (1993). Diccionario de literatura española e hispanoamericana (in Spanish). Madrid: Alianza Editorial. ISBN 84-206-5292-X. 
  • Hernández de León, Federico (30 April 1959). "El capítulo de las efemérides". Diario La Hora (in Spanish). Guatemala. 
  • Hernández de León, Federico (30 May 1959). "El capítulo de las efemérides". Diario La Hora (in Spanish). Guatemala. 
  • Woodward, Ralph Lee, Jr. (1993). Rafael Carrera and the Emergence of the Republic of Guatemala, 1821-1871 (Online edition). Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 

Milla y Vidaurre works[edit]

External links[edit]